Friday, March 30, 2012

The World of Tikkun

Among the chassidim of Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi was a learned and wealthy man. An accomplished Torah scholar and chassidic thinker, he served the Almighty devotedly and gave generously to charity. In his younger years, this chassid had been a distinguished student in Rabbi Schneur Zalman's first cheder.

But then it came to pass that this chassid lost his entire fortune, and went heavily into debt. Furthermore, he had several poorer relations for whom he had promised to provide dowries and wedding expenses. Their wedding dates were approaching and he saw no way in which he could make good on his promises. Marriage arrangements had already been made for two of his own daughters and even here, he would be unable to meet his obligations.

He came to see Rabbi Schneur Zalman and poured out his heart, weeping with deep, genuine pain. "If G-d has chosen to afflict me with poverty", he said, "I accept the Divine judgment. But how can I be reconciled with the fact that I cannot repay my debts? That I am unable to keep my word concerning the marriages of my relations and daughters? I had made these promises when I still had the means and thus, according to the Torah, I was fully justified in making them. But if I fail to keep my word, it will be a terrible chillul Hashem."

"Why", wept the chassid, "is the Almighty punishing me so severely, by causing me to commit the terrible sin of desecrating His holy name? I beg you, Rebbe, please intercede on my behalf to arouse the Heavenly mercy upon me, that I be able to meet my obligations. Aside from this, I accept all that has been decreed. I must give for my relatives what I have promised! I must give for my daughters what I have promised!"

Rabbi Schneur Zalman sat with his head in his arms in a deep state of d'veikus [meditative attachment to G-d]. In this manner he listened to the chassid's tearful pleas. After a long while, Rabbi Schneur Zalman lifted his head and said with great feeling: "You speak of all that you need. But you say nothing of what you are needed for...."

Rabbi Schneur Zalman's words pierced the innermost point of the chassid's heart and he fell, full length, in a dead faint. The Rebbe's servant, Reb Zalman, who stood in the doorway, called to two chassidim who were in the Rebbe's anteroom. Together they carried the chassid out of the Rebbe's room, poured water over him, and finally managed to revive him.

When the chassid opened his eyes, he said nothing to anyone. He simply applied himself to the study of Torah and the service of prayer with renewed life and with such devotion and diligence that he forgot all else. Although he spoke to no-one and fasted every day, he was in a perpetual state of joy.

On the second Shabbos of the chassid's stay, the Rebbe spoke on the subject of tohu and tikkun. Tohu [chaos] is an earlier stage and order of creation in which the flow of G-d's involvement and presence was so intense that the created reality was unable to receive and digest it. The definitions of existence simply melted down before this overwhelming dose of G-dliness. In the terminology of the kabbalah, it was an existence of "much light and scant containers".

Then G-d created our present existence, the world of tikkun [correction]. Here the opposite is true - we live in a world of "broad containers and little light". Our world is indeed a most formidable "container" which holds its own before the Divine light. It is a world which defines, limits and screens the infinite emanations from its Creator. But as a result, ours is a dark world, a world which conceals, shrouds and distorts the reality of G-d.

The purpose of life, said Rabbi Schneur Zalman, is to bring together the best of both worlds - to fill the broad containers of tikkun with the immense light of tohu. This is achieved by serving the Almighty through one's involvement in the world. In the words of the prophet Isaiah "He did not create it for chaos, He formed it that it be settled" [Isaiah 45:18]

On the following Monday, Rabbi Schneur Zalman summoned the once-wealthy chassid, blessed him with success, and told him to return to his home and business. In time, the chassid regained his wealth, made good on his debts and promises, married off his daughters, and resumed his philanthropy on an even more generous level than before.

Source: "Once Upon A Chassid"

Bombshell Betrayal: Obama Leaks Info to Thwart Israeli Attack

Source and much more at: Atlas Shrugs [HT: Moriah]

The Obama administration is leaking information to pressure Israel not to bomb Iran. Enemy in the White House. Not only is Obama an anti-semite, he is anti-American (anti-freedom.) His islamophiliac polcies compromises American security. Iran is clearly an American threat. They have been at war with us since '79. Israel was willing to do the heavy lifting because our reckless and feckless president was too weak, too compromised. But to betray an ally like this?

Senior US officials tell 'Foreign Policy' "Israelis have bought an airfield and the airfield is called Azerbaijan."

Is it any wonder that 20% of Americans think Obama is Muslim. But their fruits ye shall know him and so we know him.

Israel Braces for Arab Protests on Friday

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel on Thursday stepped up preparations a day before a series of planned Arab protests, deploying thousands of troops and police across the country and along its borders in anticipation of possible violence.

On Friday, Israeli Arabs and Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza are marking Land Day, an annual protest against what they say are discriminatory Israeli land policies. Supporters in neighboring Arab countries planned marches near the Israeli borders in a solidarity event they call a "Global March to Jerusalem."

While organizers said the events would be nonviolent, Israel's army and police were girding for trouble after similar protests last year turned deadly.

Source and more: Newsday

The Wonderbag: All Day Cholent, No Power Costs


Forget the blech and the slow-cooker, all you need is this Wonderbag:

Squashy, shapeless and stuffed with recycled polystyrene beads, it's an unlikely contender for the year's must-have accessory.  The Wonderbag, you see, is no mere style accessory. It might look like a Seventies beanbag, but it's actually a non-electric slow cooker. Tuck a pan of hot ingredients into its cosy folds, and it will keep them stewing slowly for hours.

Its inventor, Sarah Collins, 42, admits: 'It's the oldest technology in the world. I don't understand how someone else hasn't made it already.' Our ancestors buried hot stew pots in the ground to keep them cooking without fuel.

The principle is simple: heat your food to boiling point for a few minutes on the stove in a normal saucepan, pop on its lid, then transfer it to the bag. It doesn't even matter how long you leave it there, because, says Sarah, it's all but impossible to overcook anything. 'I'm not a good cook,' she says. 'I don't want to worry about timings. I'm one of those people who just chucks everything in and goes away. But the Wonderbag has turned me into a good cook, because everything comes out so tasty.'

You can even leave rice in to cook overnight without it turning into sludge, she claims. It sounds too good to be true. I'm feeling sceptical as, after breakfast, I brown onions and beef in a pan with a tin of tomatoes and a bag of mixed veg. Normally, I'd simmer such a stew in the oven for hours. This time, I heat it for just 30 minutes before transferring the lidded pot to the bag.

A South African eco-entrepreneur, she came up with the idea four years ago during a power cut, when she managed to keep her dinner cooking by surrounding the pan with cushions. The comical-looking prototype she later developed with a friend is already having a significant impact on the developing world.

Read more: Daily Mail

Thursday, March 29, 2012

North Korea begins fuelling rocket

North Korea has begun fuelling a rocket for a launch that the West considers a missile test, a Japanese newspaper reported today, citing a source "close to the government'' in Pyongyang.

"The launch is coming closer. The possibility is high that the launch date will be set for April 12 or 13,'' the source said according to the Tokyo Shimbun in a report from Seoul.

It cited the source as saying that North Korea had begun injecting liquid fuel into the rocket.


Read more: News.com

Jewish School Boy Beaten in Another French Antisemitic Attack

A 12-year-old Jewish schoolboy was punched in the back of the head by a gang who called him a ‘dirty little Jew’. The incident took place near the Ozar Hatorah school attended by the boy in southeastern Paris and is the latest in a string of anti-Semitic attacks to hit France.

The police guarding the school allegedly did not see the assault taking place, and the schoolboy reportedly did not suffer serious injuries.

Jean-Paul Amoyelle, head of the Ozar Hatorah network of Jewish schools in France, said he feared further attacks after this incident.

Source: Algemeiner

Rembrandt's painting ''The Old Rabbi'' authenticated

Left high on a library wall for more than half a century, the portrait of a rheumy-eyed old man initially seemed no different from the misattributed old masters hanging beside it.

But after more than half a century of being overlooked, it has been authenticated as a genuine and outstanding work by Rembrandt.

And the identification – by the world's leading expert on the 17th century Dutch master – will make a multimillion pound difference to its price tag.

The painting, known as The Old Rabbi, has rarely been seen by the public since it was last exhibited in 1950. Since then it has hung in the private apartments of Woburn Abbey in Bedfordshire, family home of the dukes of Bedford.

Source and more: Guardian

Israeli Army chief cancels Passover vacation

For first time in many years, all IDF units to be on full alert during Passover holiday; army officials insist decision not related to any planned military operations.

Chief of Staff Benny Gantz has ordered all IDF units to cancel their traditional Passover breaks so that they can operate in full capacity over the upcoming holdiay, Yedioth Ahronoth reported Wednesday.

The implication of the decision is that for the first time in many years, all IDF units will maintain their regular operations and remain on full alert throughout the holiday.

As result of the unexpected decision, thousands of soldiers at various IDF headquarters and bases will have to report for duty as usual in order to allow their units to operate with no interruption.

Source: Ynet

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Time Waves, Pesach Possibilities and Dec 21, 2012



Terence McKenna was a super-genius.  According to his Time Wave Zero Theory - which you can understand by watching the video above or read about it by clicking here - the last days of Pesach, will see a descent into Novelty - which simply means a time of ACTION -  and this novelty will continue until the infamous date December 21, 2012.

The TimeWave Zero graph is supposed to depict the ebb and flow of novelty and habit in the universe. When the timeline climbs up, habit [routine, convention, ruts to get stuck in] increases. When the line dips down, novelty [creativity, connectedness, weirdness] increases. A built-in feature of the wave is that at a certain point it hits the bottom of the graph — it goes off the scale. Novelty is maximized, as far as the variables of this system [the universe] go.

Coincidentally..... Terence McKenna's time-line ended on one specific date - December 21, 2012 - the same date as the ''end'' of the Mayan calendar [note: at the time, McKenna did not know about the Mayan calendar date].

If you want to download Time Wave Zero click here.

Basically, history repeats. Events happen in time waves. Future eventful times can be predicted by looking at the Time Wave patterns. And the end of Pesach is one of those times when we start to descend into NOVELTY.

This ties in with statements by several gedolim/rabbis regarding Pesach this year:

Rav Scheinberg zt"l: ''Mashiah is Mamash at the entrance''
Rabbi Shlomo Wolbe zt"l: Mashiach is ready to come
Rav Ovadia Yosef shlita: "prepare for Mashiach this Pesach"


[Hat tip to Soul Mazal for this fascinating topic.]

Israel Cuts Ties With UN ''Human Rights'' Council

Israel has severed ties with the UN Human Rights Council after the committee launched an international investigation into Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said Tel Aviv would prevent the council's fact-finding teams from entering the West Bank to investigate settlement construction.

“We are not working with them anymore,” Palmor said. “We had been participating in meetings, discussions, arranging visits to Israel. All that is over.”

Source and more: PressTV

Giving Thanks

''If he is bringing it as a thanksgiving offering... ''[Tzav 7:12 ]

Rashi comments on when a thanksgiving offering is brought:

To give thanks to G-d for a miracle that had happened to a person. For instance:
1. those who made a sea voyage, or
2. journeyed in the desert, or
3. those who had been in prison, or
4. a sick person who recovered.
All these are required to give thanks to G-d since regarding them, the verse states ''They will give thanks to G-d for His kindness and for His wonders to mankind, and they will slaughter sacrifices of thanksgiving.'' [Psalms 107:21-22]


Chassidic thought has a further sequence of the four cases that require a thanksgiving offering, corresponding to the process by which the soul descends into the world:

1. Sick person: When the soul leaves its source beginning its journey down into this world, the intense love for G-d which is experienced previously is weakened. So the soul becomes ''sick'' with its desire to regain its lost love.

2. Imprisonment: As the soul descends further downwards, it becomes affected by the progressive confinement of the spiritual and physical worlds, until it is eventually ''imprisoned'' in a body.

3. Sea voyage: While the soul is living in this world, there is the danger that it will ''drown'' in the turbulent waters of worldliness and physicality.

4. Desert: The soul may regress further, G-d forbid, to the point that the person lives a life devoid and barren of any spiritual meaning whatsoever.

And since these challenges are great, the soul is made to swear an oath before it leaves its source - ''be righteous and don't be wicked'' - giving it the strength to prevail against all odds.

Based on Sefer HaMaámarim 5737 Lubavitcher Rebbe

The Secret of the Ten Plagues

The following [extracts of a] letter are taken from a pamphlet written by the Tzaddik, Rebbe Shimshon from Ostropoli. He writes at the end of the pamphlet that anyone who studies the wondrous and awesome secrets written here, even one time in a year, and especially Erev Pesach, is guaranteed that he will be saved from any kind of accident or disaster or strange death for the whole of that year, and that everything that he turns his hand to will be successful!

"....as briefly as possible I will answer Your Honor’s question regarding that which I wrote about the symbols DaTSaCH ADaSH BeaChaB  דצ"ך עד"ש באח"ב) ) etc. and how the Redemption is hinted at by these symbols..."

".....all these words of the Ari z”l are obviously the most wondrous and awesome secrets, sealed , closed and locked away from the slightest understanding, for who is there that could explain them? And, in fact, I have been asked many times by some of the greatest Rabbis to explain these words to them, and I refused. However, because of my great love for Your Honor, I will explain them to you as they were revealed and explained to me in a dream."

To read the entire letter go to: Shuvubonim

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Kabbalah of Defeating Terror

By Levi Brackman


There is no doubt that the greatest threat facing the civilized world today is the amalgam of extremism, terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. This lethal combination could one day, if given the chance, claim the lives of millions, G-d forbid.

Perhaps the most frightening thing about this challenge is that it's not a contest of strength between two armies, nor is it a battle between rival ideologies. It's a struggle between two types of force -- one that thrives on order and another that flourishes on chaos. Can order defeat chaos? Can moderation defeat extremism?

But this is not a novel struggle: it has its origins in the Bible.

Jacob is by far the most fascinating and complex personality in the book of Genesis. First we're introduced to "Jacob the scholar," a quiet, timid person who spends his days in his tent immersed in study. Soon thereafter, however, the Torah acquaints us with "Jacob the conniver" who induces his twin brother Esau to part with his birthright in exchange for a pottage of lentils and subsequently elicits from his old father blessings that had been intended for Esau. As he flees his brother's wrath, we meet "Jacob the prophet" who sees a vision of angels ascending and descending a ladder and holds a conversation with G-d. Arriving in Haran -- where Jacob finds shelter in his uncle Laban's home -- we're introduced to "Jacob the romantic" who falls in love with his cousin Rachel and is prepared to work for seven years in his uncle's employ in return for her hand in marriage. "Jacob the rancher" has phenomenal success in building up Laban's flocks, and "Jacob the entrepreneur" outmaneuvers his dishonest uncle and amasses a small fortune. Returning from Haran, "Jacob the warrior" prepares himself and his family for battle with Esau.

In a word, Jacob is clearly the most versatile of the three Patriarchs. This is why, predicated on the holy Zohar, the Chassidic masters assign the Divine attribute of Tiferet [beauty, harmony] to Jacob. Abraham personified the attribute of Chessed [kindness], Isaac personified Gevurah [severity] and Jacob Tiferet. In the Kabbalistic system of the Divine attributes ["Sefirot"], Tiferet acts as the mediator between Chessed on the right and Gevurah on the left.

A mediator has to be able to understand the point of view of both parties and see the legitimacy of both vantage points in order to find the common denominator between the two. Chessed is unbridled love. Gevurah is discipline and restriction. As the dynamic mediator between these two extremes, Tiferet can be restrictive when needed, but loving and kind on other occasions. This manifested itself in Jacob's personality and life. He was dynamic and adaptable -- the antithesis of extremism.
Art by Emily Martin

Jacobs's antagonist was his brother Esau. Esau's life was one of chaos, characterized by rebelliousness and murder. He was a "man of the field" -- a hunter. He spurned his birthright and married women deeply disapproved of by his parents. He set out together with four hundred henchmen to do battle with his brother Jacob. Esau was eventually killed by his great-nephew while arguing with Jacob's sons during his funeral. All this points to a man who was extreme in nature.

The great 16th century Kabbalist Rabbi Isaac Luria ["Ari"] explained that Esau's spiritual source was the primordial world of Tohu or chaos. The world of Tohu contains spiritual energy that is too potent to be channeled productively. Denied the ability to be applied for a practical and constructive purpose, this extreme potency can only destroy. This is what Esau was: a man who was unable to apply himself to achieve something that would have a long term positive effect -- he was only able to destroy.


Jacob's spiritual antecedent is from the world of Tikkun or order. Tikkun is a world in which the energy fuses with its recipient "vessel" so that together they are able to be positively productive. Within the world of Tikkun, Jacob personified Tiferet. Thus Jacob's dynamism allowed him to lead a worthwhile and productive life.

It is now clear why Jacob was able to triumph in his struggle with Esau time after time. Jacob confronted Esau's intensity and extremism with clarity, calmness and rationalism. He countered Esau's brash, destructive, chaotic, antagonistic and vengeful personality with caution, moderation, realism and desire for peace. He was victorious because extreme and destructive powers will ultimately suffer defeat at the hand of energies that are serene, constructive, dynamic and tolerant.

In our century we are witnessing the battle between the power of Esau and the power of Jacob. Esau is represented by the extremist elements who would like to destroy civilization as we know it -- those who flourish in chaotic situations, where there is no calling to account.

Jacob, on the other hand, is characterized by the tolerant, peace loving citizens and nations of the world who cherish order, justice and a civilized society.

Certainly, we must wage war against the extremists. However it is only by concurrently maintaining an orderly, tolerant, constructive, dynamic and peace-loving composure and philosophy, that extremism, and its by-product, terrorism, will be defeated.

Source: Chabad

Two million set for ''March on Israel'' Organizer Claims

[HT: Moriah]
Global March to Jerusalem Facebook page 

Two million Arab and international protesters will march toward the borders of Israel and take part in activities designed to highlight Jerusalem’s Arab character on Friday, the event organizer claims.

Ribhi Haloum, general coordinator of the “Global March to Jerusalem,” said in a press statement that volunteers from 80 countries will take part in the march. Jordan and Lebanon will send protesters to the border, whereas Egypt will organize a solidarity marathon from Cairo University to the pyramids in Giza and a large rally at Al-Azhar University.

The organizers emphasized the peaceful nature of the march, which will coincide with Land Day, an annual day of commemoration marked by Arab citizens of Israel to protest land confiscation.

But judging by the event’s Facebook page, at least some supporters are demanding concrete action on Jerusalem.

“What will you do after the march? Liberate it!” wrote commentator Muhammad Malkawi. Other talkbackers asked about solidarity activities in Sudan or Iraq.

Full article at: Times of Israel

Remember....

North Korea April Rocket Launch Coverup for Iran Missile Test

In mid-April, North Korea intends to launch it’s long range Unha-3 rocket into space while carrying a satellite, sparking concerns in Washington and Seoul that an agreement to halt Pyongyang’s nuclear missile program is in jeopardy.

On Monday, the Israel Hayom newspaper reported that the scheduled launch is intended to assist the Iranians in testing their long range rocket technology, because Tehran believes conducting such a launch inside the Islamic Republic would aggravate western nations as the two sides head into negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program next month.

“There’s nothing surprising in this. Iran has, for roughly 20 years, used every ruse possible to avoid it’s international obligations, leaving it’s pledges in bilateral and multilateral frameworks. If they were to test through North Korea, it would just be another example of that,” said Gerald Steinberg of the BESA Center for Strategic Studies in Tel Aviv.

President Obama, who is in South Korea for a nuclear security summit, spoke in the capital of Seoul on Sunday.

“North Korea will achieve nothing by threats or provocations,” he said.

“We are preparing measures to track the missile’s trajectory and shoot it down if it, by any chance, deviates from the planned route and falls into our territory,” said South Korean President Lee Myung-bak.

Source: Algemeiner

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Time for Miracles

Received via email

Rabbanit Yemima Mizrachi brought this down during her shiur this week:

A faucet of miracles – at your seder

We’re at an amazing time – “a moment of affection”. The month of Nisan – the time of nissim, miracles. What does the Chatam Sofer say? There’s a difference between a ko’es, one who is angry, and a ka’asan, one who is by nature angry; the difference between a spender and a spendthrift. One’s momentary, the other existential. The same thing with a nes, a miracle. God split the Sea of Reeds, ים סוף , once, and that’s it – so what?... But Nisan – that’s the nature of the season. A gate of miracles opens up this week. The nature of the time is miracle after miracle, and all I ask, says God, is that הַרְחֶב פִּיךָ וַאֲמַלְאֵהוּ – open your mouth wide and let Me fill it1; שְׁאַל 1 Psalms 81:11 מִמֶּנִּי – וְאֶתְּנָה – Ask of Me and I shall give  [Psalms] All I want from you is for you to ask. That’s it.

At the beginning of Nisan the angels overseeing your fortune changed their shifts. If you’ve felt stuck, locked in, closed – God called for a shift change, and now you have new angels supervising your fortune, your constellation. What’s a constellation? A mazal – from the word nozel, meaning to flow. They cause a flow of changed fortunes. I so much want to give you all hope, because if you don’t believe it you’ll never see the miracles. So we must pray, because salvation is getting closer. We must have faith to receive the miracles. 

And Rabbi Arush’s thoughts on Rosh Chodesh Nissan.  This is a word for word translation:

We must prepare ourselves for a really important time. The month of Nissan. Rebbe Nachman writes that there are two months of teshuva – Tishrei and Nissan. In Tishrei we do teshuva because we are afraid – but in Nissan, we do teshuva because we love Hashem. All of that month, all of those days, are Yamim Tovim. They are festive days. The first twelve days, are days that there were sacrifices of the princes of Israel, 13th is isru chag for the Nissim, 14th is the sacrifice of Pesach, then 7 days of Pesach, then Isru Chag – one month of holidays!

This month it’s going to be a new beginning for the rest of the year. It’s the month of the Geula. Rabbi Nachman of Breselv writes in Likutei Moharan that this is the first day of the year for the kings. On this day Hashem is deciding all of the kings that are going to be. So there is an aspect that Rosh Chodesh Nissan is more important than even the first day of Rosh Hashanah in Chodesh Tishrei! On Rosh Hashanah Hashem judges us all individually. Each and every one, He is judging Him on his actions. But on Rosh Chodesh Nissan Hashem is judging generally – all of the world itself. Who is going to be the kings and so on. On Rosh Chodesh Nissan, Hashem is going to decide when Moshiach is going to come. There is not for no reason that our Rabbis say that Moshiach will come in Nissan. It’s because on Rosh Chodesh Nissan, Hashem is going to decide if the king is going to be Moshiach, so he’s going to come in Nissan. This is why everyone has to realize how important these days are and put in the effort, and especially on Rosh Chodesh Nissan, to pray that Hashem is going to put His kingdom on top, that He is going to be the King, and if you Hashem are not going to bring the Moshiach this year, please appoint good kings that it’s going to be good for us.

Obama warns North Korea

Staring into the void ... Barack Obama peers across the demilitarised zone into North Korea after arriving in Seoul for a nuclear security summit. Photo: AFP

SEOUL: The US President, Barack Obama, has warned North Korea that it will achieve nothing with threatening behaviour and risks deepening its isolation if it proceeds with a planned long-range rocket launch.

''North Korea will achieve nothing by threats or provocations,'' Mr Obama said during a news conference yesterday in the South Korean capital, Seoul, where he is attending a nuclear security summit.

Read more: SMH

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Broken

Art: Harry Watrous
''An earthenware vessel in which it is cooked shall be broken.....'' [Tzav 6:21]

An ''earthenware vessel'' represents the body of man, which was formed from the earth. Just like an earthenware vessel that absorbs a prohibited substance must be broken, so too, if a man's body participates in a sin, it can be atoned for when his heart becomes ''broken'' through true repentance.

Based on Sichas Shabbos Parsha Tzav 5736, Lubavitcher Rebbe

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Korea to Aim Missile at Australia, Obama Threatens Strong Response

  • North Korea to test new rocket on April 15 [the 8th day of Pesach]
  • Likely to have bigger payload, power
  • US warns "aimed toward Australia"
A senior United States official says a long-range missile which North Korea plans to test next month will for the first time be aimed towards South-East Asia and Australia.

See: North Korea to aim missile test at Australia

SEOUL: North Korea will face a "strong response" if it launches a long-range rocket next month despite international calls to desist, a special adviser to US President Barack Obama said on Friday.

"If they go ahead anyway, we will want to work with our allies and partners for a strong response," Gary Samore, arms control coordinator at the National Security Council, told South Korea's Yonhap news agency in an interview.

The North's planned launch sometime between April 12 and 16 will be a key topic on the sidelines of a nuclear security summit in Seoul next week.

See: US warns of 'strong response' if North Korea launches rocket

Friday, March 23, 2012

Toulouse Victims part of Illustrious Rabbinic Family

The murdered victims were scions of an illustrious rabbinic family. The date of the murders has eerie significance.

by Jacob Asseraf
Ed. note: This article appeared in an online Five Towns newspaper. The writer is not an English speaker. Minimal editing was done where the needed changes were obvious, the rest was left as written.

I am the uncle of the woman who lost her two children and husband in the killing and the cousin of the father of the girl Miriam Monsonego who also perished in the attack.

The 2 boys, Gabriel Issachar 6 years old and Arie 3 years old , who were killed with their father are the grand-grand sons of my father Issachar and the 8 years old girl Miriam Monsonego is the grand- grand daughter of my father's sister.

What is strange about this story is this drama happened on Adar 25, the day of the anniversary of the death of my son [sic] father Issachar and one of the boys is named after him.

Miriam Monsonego. She comes from a lineage of great rabbis family, the Monsonego Family, Av Beth Din From father to son since 1492 from Spain, and Great Rabbi of Morocco.

And also my cousin, Rabbi Aaron Monsonego, the Grand Uncle of Miriam Monsonego, is currently Great Rabbi of Morocco and the President since its existence of the Otzar Hatorah Institutions.

My niece Hava Malka and and her family have been sent by the Israeli government as shlouhim to teach in that Jewish school Otsar Hatorah

The French Government
I want bring some clarification on the behavior of the French nation and its authorities. For the first time I, like all the French Jewish community, have been very impressed with the solidarity and the support of the French nation of all religions and political parties together.

Even the French Arab and Muslim community has been very integral in these events with French Jewish community

How things happened
My niece is living in front of the school where she and her husband Rav Jonathan Sandler were teaching Limoudei Koddesh.[Judaica, ed.]

It was on Monday March 19th , my niece's husband was waiting with his 2 boys for the school bus for the nursery and kindergarden school to drive the boys to their school. Usually my niece would wait with them, but this day she did not and stayed with her 6 month old daughter at home.

Very strange that she and her daughter were saved on the day of my father's yortseit [anniversary of death].

While Rav Jonathan Sandler and his 2 boys were awaiting the bus, the criminal came towards them, to stand up in front of him and shoot him in the head before turning to shoot Gabriel Issachar, the 6 years old boy and Aryeh, the 3 years old boy.

The little girl Miriam that was waiting as well, was scared and started running, the murderer ran after her pulled her by the her hair, held her and shot her with a bullet in her head, what a criminal, one of the students, 17 years old, trying to save her has been shot also in the lung and the heart, he was saved after many [sic] surgery.

My niece Hava Malka, when she heard the shooting she ran downstairs and saw her husband and kids murdered in front of her, Aryeh the 3 years old boy was still living but died at the hospital.

The father of Miriam, Yaakov Monsonego, son of Rabbi Rahamim Monsonego, my cousin, was around saw his daughter murder in front of him , he collapsed.

My sister Fanny with her husband, living in Paris, took the first flight to Toulouse. I have been called the same day by my family while I was at the Far Rockaway Shoul Beis Yaakov davening Shachrit [morning prayers,  which it is the custom to lead on a yahrzeit, ed.] for my father's yortseit.

Both families, Sandler and Monsonego, are French and Israeli citizens. Prime Minister Netanyahu and the all the Israelis were deeply affected by this anti-Semitic murders.

The French president sent his Foreign Secretary of State Alain Juppe as well his Interior and Police Secretary of State to Toulouse to support the family. They also intervened not to let the Doctors make any autopsies to the murdered.

The Niftarim [dead] and their family have been boarded in a military Flight towards Paris, where President Sarkozy did a Special Ceremony for them before they leave to Israel.

President Sarkozy also sent his Foreign Secretary of State Alain Juppe [who is and always was a great friend of the Jewish Community] to fly with the families to Israel and to assist at the funerals which will take place Wednesday March 21st with the presence of the Israeli and French Governments at Givat Shaoul Har Hamenouhot where my Parents Issachar and Messda Assaraf, whose yortseit is also 28th Adar this week are buried.

They took the 11:55 Pm EL AL Flight from Paris to Jerusalem Tuesday 20th.

I have attached also the picture, of the Grandfather of the father of Myriam Monsonego, who was the uncle of my father from his mother's side and also his brother in law has married my father's sister .

Rabbi Yedidia Monsonego was always with the King Hassan II and his son Aaron as well. The King of Morocco never did anything without the advice of Rabbi Yedidiah.

Source and more, including video at: Israel National News

HT: Moriah

UN orders first-ever probe into ''illegal Israeli settlements''

The UN Human Rights Council [UNHRC] has passed a resolution which orders the first-ever probe to explore the impact of Israeli settlements on the occupied Palestinian territories.

Of the 47-member council, 36 voted in favor of the resolution on Thursday while 10 abstained from voting. The Untied States was the only member that voted against the measure.

The resolution called on Tel Aviv to help protect Palestinian civilians and property in the occupied territories as well as to prevent settler’s violence “including confiscation of arms and enforcement of criminal sanctions.”

“Steps like this do nothing to promote a just and lasting peace,” said the US envoy to the UN, adding that America is “deeply troubled by this council’s bias against Israel.”

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also criticized the UNHRC, saying that the Council “should be ashamed of itself” for approving such a measure.

Full article at: PressTV

Total Control



Related by Rabbi Zalman Shimon Dworkin a"h who heard it from Reb Shmuel Grunim a"h
by Rabbi Rafael Nachman Kahn, translated by Basha Majerczyk

A man once came to the Maggid of Mezeritch Rabbi Dov Ber and, before returning home, requested that the Maggid instruct him how to be a "baal habayis" - in full command and control of himself at all times.

"Go to Zhitomir" the Maggid told him, "and introduce yourself to my disciple Reb Zev. Tell him in my name to teach you how to be a baal habayis."

It was late one stormy night when the man arrived in Zhitomir and knocked on Reb Zev's door. There was no response, so he knocked again.  He finally peeked in through the window and saw, quite clearly, that Reb Zev was awake and about.  Still, he ignored the door.  Having no other option and being well after midnight by then, the man sat down on the doorstep to wait. He was soon drenched from head to toe.

An hour later the door opened and Reb Zev welcomed the visitor inside.  In response to his questions, the man explained that the Maggid had sent him to learn how to be a baal habayis. Reb Zev was silent and did not respond.

For a whole week the man was wined and dined by his host, but oddly enough, not once did Reb Zev mention the reason for his visit.  At long last the man could not contain himself, and asked Reb Zev why he failed to comply with the Rebbe's directive.

"Why, what do you mean?" Reb Zev replied in surprise. "I gave you a lesson the very first moment you arrived! A baal habayis only opens the door when he decides he wants to; when he doesn't, he keeps it closed."  The point was well taken. The guest understood that a person can prevent extraneous thoughts from intruding on his avodah.

[In another version, as related by the Rashag, a baal habayis is one who "stokes all the furnaces in his house early in the morning; in the evening he closes all the doors and latches his gate to prevent pigs from entering his domain".]

**************
It is said in the name of the Alter Rebbe that when Moshiach comes, all Jews will be on the level of Reb Zev of Zhitomir.  Reb Zev will ascend to the level of the Baal Shem Tov, and the Baal Shem Tov will attain a level that completely transcends human understanding.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Gabriel Holtzberg HY"D and Gabriel Sandler HY"D

HT: Klishlishi

Gabriel Sandler, 3, who was gunned down at point blank range in Toulouse on Monday, was named after Rav Gavriel Holtzberg, the Chabad emissary who was murdered in Mumbai just before he was born. Rabbi Shimon Rosenberg told Arutz Sheva that he was informed of this by a member of the Sandler family.

The rabbi said that the murder in Toulouse brings back the memory of the terrible day, 39 months ago, when he lost his daughter Rivki Holtzberg and her husband Rav Gavriel Holtzberg. The fact that one of the victims was named for Gavriel makes the event even more chilling for him, he said.

With a shaking voice, Rav Rosenberg quoted Psalms 30:10, which asks G-d: “What use is my blood, when I descend to the abyss?”

The rabbi then asked: “G-d, what do you want from our blood, which is being spilled all over the world?”

Rabbi Rosenberg thanked the Israeli government for bringing the bodies of the dead to burial in Israel. He called on people all over the world to join forces in fighting terror, and never to say “It won’t happen to me.”

Source: Arutz Sheva

Also see: The Zohar, France and the 5 Tzaddikim

America's Nightmare

Elke's Warning - She was born under Hitler ym''s, raised under the USSR's sovereignty in East Germany, and came to America as a young adult.

''They confiscated our lands... then we had nationalized health care.... [hitler ym''s started that].... no more private businesses.... everything was run by the government...... they confiscated the guns...... that's what happens under communism..... communism is anti-God.... so they took God out...... I see it happening in America..... he's taking over the health care, the banks......  I see it .....'' [Elke]

If you still can't see the similarities between Obama's plans and the above, see last week's post: Obama Preparing for.... Whitehouse releases new Executive Order: National Defense Resources Preparedness - giving them the power to basically do anything they like, and take control of everything and everyone.

Obama Bypasses Congress, Gives $1.5 billion to Muslim Brotherhood

''.... the news breaking now is that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will soon announce that President Obama will “resume funding for Egypt’s military, despite Congressional restrictions and objections from human rights and democracy advocates.”

[Congress had restricted and, in fact, halted military aid to Egypt until and “unless the State Department certifies that Egypt is making progress on basic freedoms and human rights.”]

You can read it all at Breitbart

Potential: A Gift of Fire

The sages tell us that out of one thousand students who embark on the path of Torah study, only one emerges worthy of rendering halachic decisions [Vayikra Rabbah 2:1]. Hashem endows some people with more natural gifts - such as superior intelligence and less of a propensity towards being distracted - than others.

Natural abilities are like a fire: if they're misdirected they become destructive.

Yichus is also a gift of fire. Torah is the vessel that can safely handle the fire, but if someone doesn't have Torah, then all his inherited talents and energy become a fire than can consume him. If he doesn't use his fire for Torah, then it will be used for other things, or will ultimately consume the person himself.

Source: Rabbi Mendel Kaplan
"Reb Mendel and His Wisdom" by Yisroel Greenwald

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Hashgacha Pratis: Guidance from Above

by Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Loshen HaKodesh, the holy tongue, is different from all other languages. Every word is definitive. For example, when you say in English "it happened," the connotation is a random happening - a happenstance - but the same word in loshen hakodesh - "mikreh" - places a totally different twist on the concept. The deeper meaning behind the word mikreh is "kara mei Hashem"  - "It happened from G-d," meaning that the world is not run by random forces without rhyme or reason, but that G-d`s guiding Hand is constantly with us.

This is not only detected in world events, but in our own personal lives as well, hence the concept of Hashgocha Pratis. Even if we are not aware of it, even if we do not see Hashem’s guiding Hand, it is there. Every morning, when we acknowledge our blessings and thank the Almighty for His many bounties, we recite the brocha of “Hamaychin mitzadei gover– “We thank the Almighty who firms men’s footsteps...”  We need only allow ourselves to see and hear G-d`s messages. Most people have difficulty discerning His call since His messages are hidden behind many veils. On occasion however, Hoshgocha Pratis is so clear and obvious that even a blind man has to see it, even a deaf man has to hear it.  If we allow ourselves to see and hear that which befalls us in our daily lives, we will be able to detect this Divine plan in our own lives. Most of the time, these messages are hidden behind many veils, but once in a while, HaShem’s Hand is so obvious who hears it has to be awed by it. Allow me to share with you a spectacular story that illustrates the veracity of this Hashgocha pratis.

Meet Yedidya - an eight year old yeshiva boy. Yedidya is a bright, sweet, young boy. He carries his name proudly - Yedid-Ya, which literally translated, means “friend of the Almighty". From the day of his birth, his parents imbued him with the awesome responsibility of that title, but in certain situations, he prefers that his English name, Jed, be used, and such was the case when he made his first visit to the orthodontist. He was with his beautiful mom, Shannon, and as in all doctor’s offices, a form had to be filled out. As Shannon started to write, Yedidya whispered, “Mommy, write down my English name, Jed.” When Shannon questioned him, he explained that he wanted to avoid all of the fuss that his Jewish name evoked.  Following the session with the orthodontist, Shannon hailed a cab for their return home. As they settled in the taxi, Shannon looked at the little box that indicated the driver’s name. What she saw there left her non-plussed. She looked again, and then again.... perhaps she read it wrong. Was she making a mistake? But no - amazingly, there it was in big, bold letters Yedidya! “How did you get this name, Yedidya?” he asked the driver.

“My parents gave it to me,” he explained. “ I always loved it and I was always so proud of it, but in Russia, we were not permitted to use our Jewish names, so when I came to America, I made myself a promise that, in this country, where everyone can live by his faith, I would proudly proclaim that my name is “Yedidya” and that I am a Jew. “Shannon couldn’t believe her ears. What are the chances of her finding a Jewish taxi driver in Manhattan? And more, what are the chances of his being called Yedidya? If you think about it, you too would be left non-plussed. You too would realize that the probability of such a happening is almost nil, Shannon was awed as she absorbed this enormous hashgocha protis. But more importantly, her son, who just an hour ago was uncomfortable with the name, Yedidya, was given a lesson that no school, parent, or rabbi could have given, and from that moment on, he never again wanted to be called Jed.

Skeptics might put all this down to random happenings that no intelligent person could seriously consider, so I invite those skeptics to read chapter two of the story.

Yedidya has a twin brother, Yaakov, and the day after the story with Yedidya unfolded, Shannon once again found herself hailing a taxi and even as she did so, the story with Yedidya kept replaying in her mind. As she settled in the cab, she once again looked at the little box identifying the cabby, never expecting any message, any new wisdom from the Heavens above. Incidents like this cannot be repeated, but lo and behold the little box identifying the taxi driver once again blew her away. There it was in bold letters – the name of the driver was “Yaakov” – not Jacob , mind you, but Yaakov, Yedidya’s twin brother! This hasgocha pratis, occurring twice, one right after the other, could not simply be dismissed even by the most cynical.

I now invite you to read chapter three of the story.

Should you wonder how Shannon and her amazing husband, Andrew, were zoiche to merit such an awesome happening, it goes back to another taxi ride, one that happened some years ago in Prague, Czechoslovakia. The story started with Shannon when she came to Hineni for the very first time and discovered the majestic world of Torah. Her heart, mind and neshama quickly ignited and she asked to study more... Her thirst for Torah was unquenchable, so I put her in touch with my children who are the Hineni Rabbis and Rebbetzins - Torah teachers. Then one day, Andrew a young man with a winning smile and keen bright mind came along. For him too, this was his first Hineni experience, and something told me that they would make a perfect shidduch so I suggested that they date. On those dates Shannon inspired Andrew to join her in Torah study with our family.

That year we made a Jewish heritage trip to Eastern Europe and convinced Shannon and Andrew to join us. It was on that trip in Prague that Andrew started to wear a yarmulke regularly. It was his very first yarmulke and he held it dear. On one occasion, instead of boarding the tour bus, Shannon and Andrew decided to take a taxi. No sooner did the taxi drop them off at the hotel than Andrew realized that his yarmulke was not on his head. In a panic, Andrew chased after the taxi with the swiftness of a marathon runner, all the while calling out to the cabby to stop. The driver heard his cries and waited for Andrew to catch up. Out of breath, Andrew opened the door of the cab.. And there, on the seat, was his yarmulke..... and not just that, he also found his international phone, which in those days was very expensive item, but what is significant is that it was not after the phone that Andrew chased, but his Yarmulke.

Recently, while visiting Shannon and Andrew, I heard the incredible story of Yedidya and Yaakov. Immediately, the scene in Prague which happened so long ago flashed through my mind. I connected the dots, Yedidya and Yakov’s taxi miracle started in Prague when their father chased after the taxi for his yarmulke. ...From a taxi in Prague to a taxi in New York - it’s one straight line – And that is the story of Hineni.

I now ask you to multiply that miracle a thousand times and span it over 45 years of Hineni kiruv, and you will realize the awesomeness of the miracle of a nation that, in an instant can close the gap of centuries and make the journey from New York to Sinai. And that is the story of Hineni,.... Here we are, Am Yisrael, Our neshamas are forever bound to our Torah bequeathed to us at Sinai. HINENI, HERE WE ARE!

Source: Hineni

The Sacrifice of Yonatan - Toulouse Terror Attack - Torah Codes


Rabbi Jonathan Sandler HY"D, 30, and his two young sons, Gavriel, 3, and Aryeh, 6, were gunned down at the Ozar Hatorah School in the northeast of the city of Toulouse shortly after 8am local time. The fourth victim was Miriam Monsonego, 8, daughter of the school's head teacher.

The Poor Man's Offering

Art: Roxana Muchnik
And if a [poor] person brings a meal offering to the Lord, his offering shall be of fine flour. He shall pour oil over it and place frankincense upon it. Vayikra 2:1

Unlike a wealthy person, who is able to give voluntary offerings in the Temple from expensive animals and birds, the poor man is only able to offer flour. Nevertheless, the Torah attributes more significance to the poor man's offering, as Rashi writes "I consider it as if he has sacrificed his very soul!"

This is because the wealthy man's offering is inevitably connected with a certain amount of self-satisfaction, at the thought of bringing one of the most expensive and impressive sacrifices. The poor man, however, could not possibly be proud of his meagre offering, so his is the most genuine offering of all, dedicated to G-d amidst feelings of humility. Thus, to him, G-d says ''It is as if he has sacrificed his very soul!"

Source: Likutei Sichos Lubavitcher Rebbe

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Global March to Jerusalem: Updated: with Torah Codes



What is the Global March to Jerusalem (GMJ)?

GMJ, scheduled for March 30, 2012, is an anti-Israel publicity stunt that aims to have a million people marching on Israel’s borders from all the surrounding countries – Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt – with the aim of reaching Jerusalem. Concurrently, demonstrations are planned in the Palestinian-administrated territories and against Israel’s diplomatic missions in major cities throughout the world.

Who is organizing GMJ?

The organizers of GMJ are made up of members of Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, far-left extremist groups and are backed by the Iranian government.

What are the objectives of GMJ?

Official statements of the organizers of GMJ attempt to portray the movement as a peaceful protest aimed at highlighting the so-called “Judaization of Jerusalem”.

More at: Algemeiner

Mini Tornado Hits Townsville

PHOTO: Debris is strewn across Lillypilly Street in Townsville this morning. (Twitter) 
Houses collapsed and roofs were torn off buildings as a "mini-tornado" hit Townsville and heavy rain and strong winds caused chaos across north Queensland this morning.

The worst damage in Townsville is concentrated in an area of about one-kilometre radius, taking in parts of the suburbs of Vincent, Pimlico and Gulliver.

Story: ABC.net

Shimon Peres: A Message for Iran

HT: Miguel

President Shimon Peres extended Iran warm greetings for the Persian new year – and a fateful choice.



Read more at: Israel National News

A Dream Message

The following was related to Rabbi Uri Silver [a rebbi at Rabbi Senter’s yeshiva] by Rebbitzin Wolbe on February 29th 2012.  [This story has been verified via Nava at Dreaming of Moshiach, who called Rebbetzin Wolbe to confirm details]

Three months earlier Rabbi Shlomo Wolbe [author of the Alei Shor and the leading Mashgiach of the last generation] appeared in a dream to his granddaughter. He was very excited and animated - which she mentioned was uncharacteristic for Rav Wolbe who always spoke in a very controlled and measured manner. He was speaking very quickly and was looking upwards [also uncharacteristic] and he said that "Mashiach is ready to come, if people would be “concerned for their friends like they are concerned for themselves” then Mashiach will come immediately."

Rebbetizin Wolbe mentioned that it is a mitzva to publicize this dream!

Terror in France: Torah Codes

from Rabbi Glazerson

In relation to the terror attack at a Toulouse school: see Toulouse: Rabbi Yonatan Sandler and his Children among the Dead





Also see: Terror in Toulouse for some amazing gematrias

Monday, March 19, 2012

Silence: The Language of Connection

by Rabbi Michoel Gourarie
Art: Luis Beltran

In Pirkei Avot a great rabbi taught:
"All my days I grew up among the sages and did not find anything better for the body than silence."

Jewish sources define the human being as "the speaker". The ability to communicate is central to human function. Speech allows us to express our feelings, develop our emotions, explain concepts, influence other people and strengthen relationships.

Why then would the sage suggest that silence is a value worth pursuing? Isn't silence the absence of speech?

The answer lies in the definition. There are two forms of silence. One is just absence of words and the other is a prerequisite and foundation of effective speech.

The first silence is a negative trait that stems from an inability or unwillingness to communicate effectively. This silence [unlike speech] causes division and separation, creating dysfunction in human relationships.

Some examples:
  • Getting upset and giving someone silent treatment. When we are offended or hurt, respectful conversation is the only tool to resolve issues and repair relationships. Remaining silent and refusing to talk is a form of aggression and totally ineffective.
  • A parent who is afraid of his/her children and cannot be assertive with appropriate guidance and direction. This is a silence that comes from weakness and leads to dysfunctional behavior.

The second is a good silence that creates the platform for effective and positive speech. It allows the goals of communication to be achieved. True communication can only occur when there is mutual understanding and deep respect for each other's position. For this to take place our words must be preceded and guided by appropriate silence. This means:

Waiting to respond so that we can think before we talk rather than speak impulsively.

To actively listen to someone else without interrupting them so that we can really understand their perspective and that they can feel heard.

Creating boundaries around our words so that we carefully choose words that will bring us closer together and remain silent when they create more distance.

It is this form of silence that the sage is referring too. Before we can be true to our identity as "speakers and communicators" we must learn the art of good silence.

Being quiet when we should talk creates dysfunction and disunity among us. But silence, when timed correctly, is the language of connection.

The Crumbling Churches of Britain

[HT: Moriah]


Extreme weather warning: Britain's heritage buildings feel the heat – and cold
Experts fear they are fighting a losing battle as increasingly erratic conditions take their toll.

The curators responsible for preserving Britain's historic sites already have to cope with falling subsidies and the effect of the economic gloom on visitor numbers. Now they have another problem: our increasingly extreme and erratic weather.

Freezing temperatures, drought and torrential rain are all proving increasingly damaging to sites that, in some cases, are almost 1,000 years old.

Earlier this month, parts of the roof of St John the Baptist Church in Woodhurst, Cambridgeshire, collapsed, with masonry falling from the chancel, causing damage that will cost up to £40,000 to repair.

Source and more: Independent.co.uk

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Iran's Banks Cut Off

This news is a couple of days old... but here's a video news report.

Iranian banks cut off from SWIFT system
Financial group vital for oil exports cuts business with banks blacklisted by EU to enforce sanctions.
Source: Aljazeera

The Reason for the [continuing] Economic Crisis

Harav Yitzchak Ginsburgh analyzes the Hebrew word for "peace" [shalom], relating it also to "payment" [shalem, or leshalem]. This means that in their spiritual source, peace and the current world monetary crisis created by people not paying their debts are linked. In order to emerge from the current crisis, our duty is to pay our debts, both monetary and spiritual to one another. This requires that we feel responsible for one another, a cornerstone of Judaism.

Obama Preparing for .... ?

Whitehouse releases new Executive Order: National Defense Resources Preparedness - giving them the power to basically do anything they like, and take control of everything and everyone in case of war.

You can read it here: The Whitehouse



"And the king of the north shall again set forth a multitude, greater than the former; and he shall come on at the end of the times, even of years, with a great army and with much substance. And in those times there shall many stand up against the king of the south; also the children of the violent among thy people shall lift themselves up to establish the vision; but they shall stumble. And the king of the north shall come, and cast up a mound, and take a well-fortified city; and the arms of the south shall not withstand; and as for his chosen people, there shall be no strength in them to withstand. But he that cometh against him shall do according to his own will, and none shall stand before him; and he shall stand in the beauteous land, and in his hand shall be extermination."

......I heard from Rav Yehuda Sheinfeld Shlit"a and Rav David Hameyahel Shlit"a who explained these verses as referring to a war between Edom and Paras, which is the expected war between the U.S.A. and Iran. The King of the South is Iran, who is in the South, whereas the King of the North is the U.S.A. and Europe who are in the North. [Source: Geula Update: Rav Fish]

Cyclone Lua hits Western Australia

  • Cyclone Lua crosses WA coast as Category four
  • Devastating wind gusts of up to 250km/hr
  • "Every light fitting, the water had seeped in"

Read more: News.com

Friday, March 16, 2012

Rabbi Elimelech's Dance

The Bobover Rebbe and his brother, the Pakshavitzer Rebbe, in the midst of Rebbe Elimelech's dance.

Thousands upon thousands of pages have already been filled with writings about the saintly tzaddik, Rebbe Elimelech of Lizhensk, zt"l whose yahrtzeit was on 21 Adar, yet mere pen and paper cannot do proper justice to the sublime holiness that characterized this human angel. In the following lines we do not attempt to add to the descriptions of this saintly personality, but rather to turn the spotlight on a phenomenon that is mystically accredited to the Rebbe Elimelech.

Throughout the ages, various original dances have been woven into the rich tapestry of Jewish tradition. There is the Techiyas Hameisim dance, the Sheidim (Devil) dance, the Brogez (Angry) dance, and others. One popular dance that has been widely incorporated in Chassidic circles and has become a classic at many weddings is known as "Rebbe Elimelech's dance".

Aside from the lofty significance attributed to the dance itself, the tune that it goes with also has deep-seated roots in tradition. The marching tune, which starts off slow and increases in tempo as the song progresses, is sung by some to the words of "Eliyahu Hanavi" on Motzoei Shabbos. In the dance, which is also called the Under-Over dance, partners weave through "bridges" formed by clasped hands, alternately going under a "bridge" and then allowing a different pair of partners to go under their "bridge." As the tempo of the song quickens, so does the dance, which adds a unique touch of merriment to the simchah.

I spent many hours searching for the reason this dance is called Rebbe Elimelech's dance, trying to discover what connection the dance has with the holy Rebbe. I have not been able to draw a definite conclusion. I have even spoken to one prominent individual, a descendant of Rebbe Elimelech, who told me that he had attempted to solve this riddle many years ago, but was unsuccessful. Perhaps as a result of sharing the riddle with our readers, we will ultimately be enlightened.

Some say that Rebbe Elimelech used to dance this dance with his brother, Rebbe Zushe, but there is no reliable source for this.

When I spoke to Harav Dovid Meisels, shlita, of Seagate, he told me that a recent publication quoted the Bobover Rebbe, Harav Shlomo, zy"a, as saying, "Not in Ropshitz, nor in Sanz or in Bobov, did they dance Rebbe Elimelech's dance. But I saw my father, the Kedushas Tzion, dancing this sort of dance."

The Bobover Rav said in the name of Reb Itzikel, the son of Reb Mottel Neiman, Hy"d, from the city of Bobov, that the meaning of the dance lies in the fact that the dancers must bend in order to go under the "bridge." This is done at weddings in order to teach the chassan and kallah that they must bend and compromise with each other. On a similar note, the Veitzener Rav used to say that before saying Oseh Shalom, we take three steps back to teach us that if we want peace, sometimes we need to concede and take three steps back.

The Kedushas Tzion once explained that the dance alludes to the ups and downs that we encounter in our lives. Every person experiences good times and bad times, and the dance is meant to teach us to pick ourselves up immediately after a low point and not, chas v'shalom, to get mired in depression.

At the weddings of his children and grandchildren, the Bobover Rebbe, Harav Shlomo, used to dance this dance with his close acquaintances, including his brother, the Pakshavitzer Rebbe, and his brother-in-law, the Veitzener Rav, zt"l.

Harav Dovid Meisels, a grandson of the Veitzener Rav, related, "My grandfather, the Veitzener Rav, zt"l, was a brother-in-law of the Bobover Rav; both were sons-in-law of the Limonver Rav, zt"l, before the war. Both of them lost their first wives during the war, and when they came to America, the two made a pact that when, with Hashem's help, they rebuilt their families, they would maintain close ties. Indeed, the two always accompanied each other's children under the chuppah, and at each wedding they danced Rebbe Elimelech's dance with extraordinary jubilance, as if to show the world that they were taking revenge on Hitler, yemach shemo."

Original article: Hamodia

The Hopi Blue and Red Kachinas

This video shows us the Hopi peoples' concept of Moshiach's time.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Silent Scream



from the writings of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov

You can shout and scream with a "still, small voice" without anybody hearing you. Everybody can do this. Imagine the sound of such a scream in your mind. Imagine the shout exactly as it would sound. Concentrate on hearing the scream in your mind until you are literally screaming with this soundless "still, small voice" - and nobody else will hear anything.

This is actually a scream and not mere imagination. Just as there are channels that bring the sound from your lungs to your lips, so there are nerves that bring the sound to the brain. You can draw the sound through these nerves, literally bringing it into your head. When you do this, you are actually shouting inside your brain.

When you imagine this scream in your mind, the sound actually rings inside your brain. You can stand in a crowd of people screaming this way and no- one hears you.

It could be that when you do this, a faint sound may escape your mouth. This is because the sound traveling through the nerves to the brain can also activate the vocal organs, and they may then produce some sound. But it will be very faint.

It is much easier to shout in this way without words. When you wish to express yourself in words, it is harder to hold the voice in the mind without letting a sound escape your lips. Without words, it is much easier.

Rebbe Nachman of Breslov: Sichot Haran #16